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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> HELP ! Leaing Hot Water Tank won't drain !
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08/11/2011 02:46:06 PM · #1
Craptastic! I leave the house alone for a few days and this is what happens. I made a video with details and showing the type of tank and valve. I just want to drain the damn thing so it won't leak another 50 gallons into my (finished) basement/man-cave. But it won't drain for me.

I think the problem lies either with my understanding of the valve, or some blocking sediment in the valve or tank.

I almost had a guy able to bring and install a replacement tank for me within an hour of discovering this mess, but he's run into trouble and now can't make it until tomorrow morning.

Here's the video of my dilemma.

Video Part Two

Thanks for any advice on how to drain this POS.

Message edited by author 2011-08-12 01:57:28.
08/11/2011 03:06:21 PM · #2
How old is tank?
What is your water supply? Well/ municipal?

I suspicion sediment and corrosion. Looks like tank is in a tight spot so you cannot SEE. (Wish I had taken a photo of our ancient tank which we replaced a year ago so you could see what shenanigans they get up to as they age. I would have drained the tank as far as possible via the household taps, or even the egress(es) of the tank. Heavy bu##ers). Good luck. (We spent most of last summer replacing our hw tank, installing a new well pump, replacing the kitchen sink and faucet, due to attrition rather than ambition)>
08/11/2011 03:20:56 PM · #3
Wow, you have hot water and indoor plumbing in Canada?! I thought you folks still bathed in a stream.
08/11/2011 03:24:03 PM · #4
I don't know how old it is. It was here when we bought the place in 2005, and probably long before that. Municipal water supply.

I've let off what pressure I could by opening the hot water tap in a sink after closing the tank's intake. The dripping, where I can see it, has slowed, but the carpet is continuing to get wetter. Hopefully just travelling water from after I caught the leak, rather than dripping from someplace I cannot see.

This is definitely the kind of thing I hire a pro to do, as I tend to get impatient and make things worse by "using a sledge hammer to kill a fly."

:-(

I'm going to see if I can rig up some sort of catchment basin, so I can jam a poking device up into that lower valve. I just want to give myself a bit of cooling off and advisement period before I do something stupid.
08/11/2011 03:25:47 PM · #5
Originally posted by Yo_Spiff:

Wow, you have hot water and indoor plumbing in Canada?! I thought you folks still bathed in a stream.

That's only what your Canadian visitors tell YOU as a polite excuse to avoid having to use YOUR washroom. Hehe, I crack myself up. ;-P
08/11/2011 03:30:15 PM · #6
When I cut mine out and started to drain it, the sediment/scale plugged up the drain outlet. I had to periodically shake it back and forth and it would run for a little while then plug up again after the sediment resettled.

I had much more room to work with than you do. It took forever for it to drain enough to where I could lift it up and out of my basement.
08/11/2011 03:34:08 PM · #7
Originally posted by hernan43:

When I cut mine out and started to drain it, the sediment/scale plugged up the drain outlet. I had to periodically shake it back and forth and it would run for a little while then plug up again after the sediment resettled.

I had much more room to work with than you do. It took forever for it to drain enough to where I could lift it up and out of my basement.

Now I'm thinking there is a lot of sediment. Come to think of it, whenever we return from trips, the hot water runs red. Probably a mess. :-( I'd like to at least get it drained out so the poor bastard who's going to replace it doesn't have to deal with that task. It'll probably take some sort of catchment basin rig-up, which means I'm going to also have to move some furniture for added pain in the assiness.
08/11/2011 03:35:12 PM · #8
Don't you somehow have to let some air in? To replace the water you're trying to get out?
08/11/2011 03:36:45 PM · #9
I reckon corrosion is the problem to start with. Which has either blocked up or damaged the drainage valve. (assuming it is a drainage valve and not something else, like an extra hot water output valve?)

So if you're getting rid of the tank anyway, I'd go at that valve with a rod and hammer. Have plenty towels ready to block it up when the water starts coming out.

And then jerry-rig some setup with funnels, towels, and buckets to actually drain it.... :-)

ETA: I wasn't clear on one part. Do you want to get the water 'oot' or 'out' ? :-D

Message edited by author 2011-08-11 15:38:26.
08/11/2011 03:48:24 PM · #10
If it's like mine was, you have 25 gal of hot water and 25 gal of sludge.

Have you opened a hot water faucet somewhere? When you drain it, you need to shut off the fill valve, open the outlet and then open a hot water faucet or otherwise vent the system to allow air in to replace the water.

If that doesn't work, I'd close the outlet valve, open the drain and poke around with a screwdriver, then if you get it to drain a bit, put the hose back on the drain, open the outlet/faucet and drain.
08/11/2011 03:49:24 PM · #11
Be sure to change into your Batman Snuggie before the plumber gets there. They give discounts to Batman.

08/11/2011 04:02:22 PM · #12
Just one more advice and then I am oot of here. When you replace your tank make sure you have room to troubleshoot any leakage problems.

So glad we live in Canada where the plumbing is more subtle: ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/65000-69999/68504/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_923673.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/65000-69999/68504/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_923673.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

08/11/2011 04:43:12 PM · #13
If that poking thing didn't work you could try if the first fitting on the bottom right (where the cold water goes in) is an union is to put the hose there. Just have all the valves and faucets are closed while you unjoin the union and put the hose on. You will probably get some spill though. but it should work.
08/11/2011 04:51:51 PM · #14
Video update part 2

It's running a bit faster now than when I started this video. At this rate maybe 10 hours to drain? It's tempting to take ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' JH's advice and go at it with a rod & hammer, or maybe a drill... we shall see.

Hopefully it's not half water & half sludge like ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Spork99's 8-O

Message edited by author 2011-08-11 16:52:50.
08/11/2011 05:31:53 PM · #15
Originally posted by Strikeslip:

Video update part 2

It's running a bit faster now than when I started this video. At this rate maybe 10 hours to drain? It's tempting to take ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/31.gif', '/') + 1) . ' JH's advice and go at it with a rod & hammer, or maybe a drill... we shall see.

Hopefully it's not half water & half sludge like ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Spork99's 8-O


Originally posted by pointandshoot:

Be sure to change into your Batman Snuggie before the plumber gets there. They give discounts to Batman.

That could make an entertaining video.

Originally posted by mundilitli:

If that poking thing didn't work you could try if the first fitting on the bottom right (where the cold water goes in) is an union is to put the hose there. Just have all the valves and faucets are closed while you unjoin the union and put the hose on. You will probably get some spill though. but it should work.

That's out of my reach without breaking the copper pipes that exit the top. I'd leave that to the pro's... or the wife. ;-)

===========

I emptied & measured the first bin, Six gallons went in about an hour, not too shabby. 40 more to go, which divides to about seven, but I expect the flow rate to decrease or stop as time goes. I'm going to break out the whiskey and play some Black Ops while keeping an eye on the bin.

Message edited by author 2011-08-11 17:37:26.
08/11/2011 05:46:52 PM · #16
Opening the pressure relief valve on the tank itself usually relieves any vacuum better than opening a faucet. If you have access to compressed air you can occasionally alleviate this problem by blowing air back through your drain hose to push the sediment out of the valve and back into the tank. If you're going to go be beating on the valve with a hammer make sure all your faucets and other valves are closed first, or you'll never keep up with the water flow if you break that valve off, you 'll want all the vacuum you can get then.
08/11/2011 06:04:18 PM · #17
The fun starts when you've had one whiskey too many and decide to start sucking on the pipe instead of blowing.
08/11/2011 06:24:36 PM · #18
If it is sediment you might try forcing water into the tank through the drain hose so the sediment gets pushed away from the drain. To do that you need to make an adapter for one end of the hose so you could hook it to a water faucet and to the drain, then open the drain and a few faucets so the water has a place to flow then turn the water on. If it is sediment the water flowing into the tank should clear the passage then it might drain.
08/11/2011 06:25:47 PM · #19
Originally posted by Marfun:

Opening the pressure relief valve on the tank itself usually relieves any vacuum better than opening a faucet. If you have access to compressed air you can occasionally alleviate this problem by blowing air back through your drain hose to push the sediment out of the valve and back into the tank. If you're going to go be beating on the valve with a hammer make sure all your faucets and other valves are closed first, or you'll never keep up with the water flow if you break that valve off, you 'll want all the vacuum you can get then.


Or use air Like suggest above, I was to slow....
08/11/2011 06:45:30 PM · #20
I don't know much about water heaters, but I really like your Canadian accent. :)
08/11/2011 07:33:29 PM · #21
' . substr('//www.kpriest.com/dpchallenge/blow_it_up.gif', strrpos('//www.kpriest.com/dpchallenge/blow_it_up.gif', '/') + 1) . '
08/11/2011 07:49:40 PM · #22
get a bucket and a sump pump. drill a hole, let it drain into the bucket and use the sump to pump it out.

also make sure that you pull that carpet back and replace the pad so you don't get mold and a mildew smell in your mancave.

Message edited by author 2011-08-11 19:52:21.
08/11/2011 08:46:36 PM · #23
Now, I think you should try this...

It'll drain the water heater AND remove it from your house all in record time.
08/11/2011 11:45:18 PM · #24
Originally posted by Art Roflmao:

' . substr('//www.kpriest.com/dpchallenge/blow_it_up.gif', strrpos('//www.kpriest.com/dpchallenge/blow_it_up.gif', '/') + 1) . '


Getter Done!
08/12/2011 12:02:23 AM · #25
Assuming you have hard water, and if you do not drain your tank on a regular basis then I would bet money that your drain pipe is plugged solid.

You might consider looking at the following Removing Sediment from HW Tank

Good luck to you with your project.

Ray
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